Used in everything from face cleansers and toothpastes to makeup formulations, charcoal has long been heralded as a detoxifying agent for skin and body, as well as a positive contributor to overall health. Thanks to charcoal’s naturally absorptive properties, it attracts dirt and oil, pulling them out like a magnet, helping beauty formulas whiten, brighten and lighten.
And it works internally too. Amazingly, even a small swig of the stuff can make you feel better after a night of drinking or when those first pangs of sickness hit.
So, how does it work? In short, charcoal does not get absorbed by the body, and instead attaches itself to toxins before they are able to enter the bloodstream.
When it comes to using charcoal on the skin, there are a host of benefits including fighting acne, dehydration, inflammation and even signs of aging. Although face treatments like mud masks are a good way to do some mild complexion-clearing, if you’re looking for more of a detoxifying effect on your face (think: getting the gunk out of your pores) go for charcoal.
It’s easy to make your own charcoal-infused face mask, but first remember, it’s important to purchase the right kind. When it comes to complexions and beauty regimens, we recommend using activated charcoal that is both high-quality and pharmaceutical grade. This fine black powder has no smell or taste, and unlike regular charcoal, has been heated for additional benefits. (Fun fact: One teaspoonful of activated charcoal has the surface area of more than 10,000 square feet, meaning it packs a serious punch!)
For those who are looking to purchase an effective charcoal-infused mask, no mixing required, look no further than Freeman’s Cleansing Charcoal & Probiotics Clay Mask, a dermatologist-tested blend of activated charcoal and probiotics that promises to instantly revive skin, restore its hydration levels, and leave your face squeaky clean. The serum-infused clay formula gently draws out oils and toxins while maintaining and balancing skin’s hydration levels. Plus, we love how our skin actually feels refreshed when wearing it. Use two times a week in order to clarify and balance your complexion. Helpful hint: Use warm water and a soft washcloth to wash the product off, wiping in small circular motion.
Talk about a multi-tasker! Albeit somewhat elusively, charcoal can also be found in cosmetics due to its abilities to do things like instantly reduce pore size and even protect nails from pollutants. Some makeup tools, including sponges and brushes have also been given a dose of charcoal, to keep them hygienic for long periods of time. And, if you’re in the market for whiter teeth, but have a DIY mentality with just two ingredients, water and… you guessed it! Charcoal.
This article was written by one of our beauty experts, Belisa. An editor for over a decade who specializes in the beauty industry, she is also the managing editor of SWAAY, which celebrates female empowerment.